This is my first blog post that will entail experiences and thoughts about my art/life. I feel like I have a lot to say from an art student's point of view. A fairly new art student at that.
I've been in college for a few years now, but only recently have I been challenged to create work that has a more substantial conceptual presence. Last semester, with the guidance of my wonderful (and challenging) teachers and peers, I finally came to an understanding with where I want to take my art. I haven't been very confident in my paintings or anything I create. I obviously am happy with what I create most of the time, or I wouldn't be making them at all. But to make something public, to expose yourself in that way, can be nerve-racking. A fellow friend and classmate, said it best I think, while discussing the challenges we have as artists:
I can't think of anything harder than exposing yourself for all the world to pick apart.
When she said that, I had a moment of reassuring realization as to why I want to make art, and the difficulties that come with it.
I will be talking more about the aforementioned issues in future posts, but on to the next topic. We had our Annual Juried Student Exhibition opening last night. My incredibly supportive family and friends came along as well, although I believe some of them came for the refreshments. The M&M and cheese plates were definitely flowing (haha you know I love you guys!) I was so grateful to have my mother, brother, and 5 of my closest friends there with me.
The awards were to be given out at 6, we had arrived shortly before. They gathered the attendees and artists into the main hall of the museum (Art Museum of the University of Memphis) where they began to give out the awards: the Graduate Purchase Award, the Merit awards, the Best of Show, and the Undergraduate award. As they were announcing the winners, one of my best friends asked if I thought I was going to win and I immediately (pessimistically) diverted her comment. Then, they announced, "The undergraduate award goes to Whitney Paige Ellens". I was so shocked! I could not believe they had chosen me. It was a complete and utter pleasant surprise. I heard cheers from my classmates, and family and received an envelope marked with the award and enclosed was a $300 check from the university. I felt so honored to have been selected, especially in the presence of such amazing artists, whom I look up to.
I emailed one of my art professors last night after the opening thanking him for all his input and help last semester. At the end of his email, he says:
I was absolutely proud to hear your name called, and cheered quite loudly, it's a good feeling to see a student succeed. I hope one day you're in the position I'm in now and feel that same feeling. And I think you should and will be.
That meant a lot to hear. I don't know what the future holds, but being an art educator is a very big possibility. We shall see what is in the cards.
Please excuse the celebratory "apple juice".